6 Marketing Lessons from International Drink Festival

By Azeez Disu

According to Euro monitor International reports, Nigerians consumed 36.68 million litres of soft drinks in 2016, its spirits market is worth $6 billion and beer accounts for 55% of the total market share. The report shows the huge potential in the drink market in the country.

The debut of the International drink festival held from December 1 to 3, 2017 at Federal Palace, Lagos X rayed the beauty of the drink industry and the opportunities.

With over 200 exhibitors, over 50 experts, master classes, Beer Village, a world class flair performance, night shows that featured Nigeria’s top artists and Dj’s, a two-day summit that brought together top notch professionals and consumers, the International Drinks Festival was truly ground breaking.

Vendors and exhibitors from local and international drinks industry were present to showcase all types and flavors of drinks known in the world. From  Remy Martins, Ciroc, Jack Daniels, Maison Routin France to Drinks pro, Lomeedarfresh, Foodpro, Smoothly, Delight, Aquadana, Luxebar and Cocktails,

Power Horse, Bigi, Food Pro, Ruby Classic, Mixy, X.O wine, Delarose, and Cocktail Nigeria.

Also, companies like Saharan Distillers, Tanamont Nigeria, Guinness Nigeria, 7 Up Bottling company Plc, Grand Oak Limited, to mention just a few, were present and excited consumers with free samples of their brands and lot of giveaways.

But beyond the funfair, marketing activities took the centre stage and below are six marketing lessons that brands can learn from the festival.


Consumer engagement

“Truly listening is hearing the needs of the customer, understanding those needs and making sure the company recognizes the opportunities they present.” – Frank Eliason, Global Director of Client Experience Team at Citi

The festival offered brands a one-on-one interaction with customers.

The customers were offered cool chilling drinks to sample and brand listened to what customers feel about their products.

Also, enquiries and complaints were received and this helped many of the brands to re-draw their marketing strategies.

Meanwhile, some brands also offered giveaways in form of below-the-line media to create top-of-the-mind awareness.

The Master Classes were amazing as people participated in the learning process of beer, cocktail and wine which further endeared participants to the drink brands mixed.

The key takeaway is that consumer engagement is key and brands should constantly engage consumers by creating useful content, and really listen to feedback.


Consumer Insight and Research

“We really listened to what our users wanted, both qualitatively listening to the words they say, and quantitatively looking at behavior that they take.”- Mark  Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO, Facebook

The dearth of research and consumer insight has caused many brands to fade out of the market, many failed to innovate or respond to consumers’ demands and changing preference.

The festival was a platform where brands saw what competitions were doing differently and what consumers’ feedback was about their product.

It was also a lesson ground for some brands to interact with big brands and other industry stakeholders on possible partnerships.

Brand Activation

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

The big animated bottles of drinks at the entrance of the venue welcomed participants to the event. The colourful display at brands stands was inviting and ushers with samples of their company’s products wooed customers to their stands.

Non drinking brand, Taxify made it to the event, giving free ride to customers after downloading their app at the venue.

Also live at the festival were world class flair bartenders, Tomek Malek and Marek Posluszny who literally kept the crowd on their toes with a top notch performance.

To add to the scenery was The Beer Village where beer flowed from dusk till dawn as various types of beer from different brands flowed throughout the festival.



“Marketing without data is like driving with your eyes closed” – Dan Zarrella

Ezekiel Adamu, CEO Balmoral Group and organisers of the festival disclosed that the event would help the country develop reliable statistics about the drink market and the data gathered would also help brands in their marketing campaigns.

In his words, “We feel Nigerians need this kind of platform, for example, we hear all the statistics all the time that Nigeria is the highest consumers of alcohol in the world and others but when we did our research, we found out that Euromonitor, which is a reliable data company, only did a statistics of about 2,000 Nigerians only in a country of about 180 million people. We found out that this statistics is not enough.

“What we did, we created a platform where we can bring all drinks and lovers together and get their statistics. With this one, we can use it to determine trends in business and you get to know proper statistics about the drink business”, he said.



“Stopping advertising to save money is like stopping your watch to save time.” – Henry Ford

Some drinks were being seen for the first time by customers at the festival despite their long presence in the Nigerian market. The reason for this is their poor advertising presence online and offline.



“Business only has two functions – innovation and marketing” – Milan Kundera

One of the key takeaways is innovation, brands learnt that innovating will help them keep their existing customers and also help attract new ones.

Many of the participating brands were able to recruit new distributors and retail partners because of their innovative products.


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